« Back to Glossary Index

**Historical Overview:**
– China has a rich history dating back to 10,000 years ago with evidence of early pottery and hominids.
– The country saw the emergence of early dynasties like Xia, Shang, and Zhou, leading to unification under an emperor in 221 BCE.
– Significant milestones include the overthrow of the monarchy in 1912, the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
– Imperial China witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties like Qin, Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, and Qing, each leaving a mark on Chinese history.
– The fall of the Qing dynasty marked the end of the imperial era, leading to the establishment of the Republic of China and later the People’s Republic of China.

**Geography and Climate:**
– China is located in East Asia, spanning five time zones and bordering fourteen countries.
– The country has a diverse landscape, from deserts in the north to forests in the south, with major mountain ranges like the Himalayas and rivers like the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
– China’s climate is dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, with environmental challenges such as desert expansion, glacier melting, and greenhouse gas emissions.
– China is the world’s largest producer of rice, wheat, and other agricultural products, contributing significantly to global food production.
– The country is home to a rich biodiversity, with over 34,000 species of animals and plants, facing threats from habitat destruction and poaching.

**Political and International Relations:**
– China is governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a one-party state, following socialist principles with Chinese characteristics.
– The CCP has a centralized structure, with the National Congress electing the Central Committee and the Politburo.
– China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a founding member of the UN, and a member of multilateral organizations like AIIB and BRICS.
– The country has the largest economy by GDP at purchasing power parity and the second-largest economy by nominal GDP.
– China’s political system is characterized by heavy restrictions on freedom of press, assembly, religion, and internet access, leading to low rankings in democracy indices.

**Economic Development and Reforms:**
– China underwent economic reforms starting in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping, transitioning away from a planned economy towards market-oriented policies.
– Reforms included dismantling agricultural collectivization, privatizing farmlands, and joining the WTO in 2001.
– The country experienced rapid economic growth, becoming the world’s second-largest economy under leaders like Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping.
– Xi Jinping initiated anti-corruption campaigns, prosecuting millions of officials, and launched initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance global economic connectivity.
– Despite economic advancements, environmental concerns like air pollution and lax enforcement of environmental regulations remain significant challenges.

**Cultural Influence and Modern Society:**
– China has a rich cultural heritage dating back to early dynasties, with inventions like gunpowder and paper contributing to global advancements.
– The country’s influence extends beyond East Asia, shaping art, philosophy, and technology worldwide.
– Modern Chinese society has witnessed significant demographic changes, with population growth from 550 million in 1950 to 900 million in 1974.
– Events like the Tiananmen Square protests, the Cultural Revolution, and the Xinhai Revolution have shaped contemporary Chinese history.
– China’s contemporary society grapples with political, social, and economic transformations, reflecting a complex interplay of tradition and modernity.

China (Wikipedia)

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, it is the world's second-most populous country. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land. With an area of nearly 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest country by total land area. The country is divided into 33 province-level divisions, inclusive of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two semi-autonomous special administrative regions. Beijing is the national capital, while Shanghai is its most populous city and largest financial center.

People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国 (Chinese)
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (pinyin)
Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ
"March of the Volunteers"
  Location of the People's Republic of China
39°55′N 116°23′E / 39.917°N 116.383°E / 39.917; 116.383
Largest city
by urban population
Official languagesStandard Chinese (de facto)
Simplified Chinese
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic
Xi Jinping
• Premier
Li Qiang
Zhao Leji
Wang Huning
Han Zheng
LegislatureNational People's Congress
c. 2070 BCE
221 BCE
1 January 1912
24 October 1945
1 October 1949
20 September 1954
4 December 1982
20 December 1999
• Total
9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) (3rd / 4th)
• Water (%)
• 2023 estimate
Decrease 1,409,670,000 (2nd)
• Density
145/km2 (375.5/sq mi) (83rd)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $32.898 trillion (1st)
• Per capita
Increase $23,309 (73rd)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Decrease $17.701 trillion (2nd)
• Per capita
Decrease $12,541 (71st)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 37.1
HDI (2022)Increase 0.788
high (75th)
CurrencyRenminbi (元/¥) (CNY)
Time zoneUTC+8 (CST)
DST is not observed.
Date format
Driving sideright (mainland)
left (Hong Kong and Macau)
Calling code+86 (mainland)
+852 (Hong Kong)
+853 (Macau)
ISO 3166 codeCN
Internet TLD

One of the cradles of civilization, China has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, with the earliest dynasties emerging in the Yellow River basin before the late second millennium BCE. The eighth to third centuries BCE saw a breakdown in the authority of the Zhou dynasty, accompanied by the emergence of administrative and military techniques, literature, philosophy, and historiography. In 221 BCE, China was unified under an emperor for the first time. Appointed non-hereditary officials began ruling counties instead of the aristocracy, ushering in more than two millennia of imperial dynasties including the Qin, Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. With the invention of gunpowder and paper, the establishment of the Silk Road, and the building of the Great Wall, Chinese culture—including languages, traditions, architecture, philosophy and technology—flourished and has heavily influenced East Asia and beyond.

After decades of struggle, the monarchy was overthrown in 1912 and the Republic of China (ROC) was established. Despite China's eventual victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War in general, numerous atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre left lasting effects on the country. Concurrently during this period, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) government were fighting sporadically since 1927, with a brief truce as a united front when Japan began invading the country. The second phase of the civil war resumed not long after Japan was defeated, and by 1949, the CCP had established control on most of the territories of the country. As the KMT retreated to Taiwan, the country was split with both sides claiming to be the sole legitimate government of China. After the land reforms, later attempts to realize communism failed—the Great Leap Forward led to a massive famine of millions of citizens, while the Cultural Revolution caused a chaotic period of persecution and zealous Maoist populism. In 1971, the PRC replaced the ROC as China's representation in the United Nations (UN). Following the Sino-Soviet split, the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972 marked the beginning of normalized relations with the United States. Economic reforms that began in 1978 led by reformists within the CCP moved the country away from a socialist planned economy toward an increasingly capitalist market economy, spurring significant economic growth, although liberal and democratic political reforms stalled after the June Fourth Incident in 1989.

China is a unitary one-party socialist republic led by the CCP. It is a founding member of the UN and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is a founding member of several multilateral and regional organizations such as the AIIB, the Silk Road Fund, the New Development Bank, and the RCEP. It is a member of the BRICS, the G20, APEC, the SCO, and the East Asia Summit. Making up around one-fifth of the world economy, the Chinese economy is the world's largest economy by GDP at purchasing power parity, the second-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the second-wealthiest country, albeit ranking poorly in measures of democracy, human rights and religious freedoms. The country has been one of the fastest-growing major economies and is the world's largest manufacturer and exporter, as well as the second-largest importer. China is a nuclear-weapon state with the world's largest standing army by military personnel and the second-largest defense budget. It is a great power and a regional power.

« Back to Glossary Index